The door of the decompression chamber opened with a rush of wind and revealed the three astronauts who stepped out onto the landing platform. The crowd of personnel erupted into cheering at the safe return of their space travelers from one of the most disastrous missions in history. Gwen couldn't help her self, she joined in the celebration whole heartedly; Waldfogel joined in next to her with very loud exclamations of joy and excitement in his native German. Gwen had no idea what he was saying but she could only assume it was something good. The astronauts all wore the same exact sheepish smile. Haise and Swigert raised their hands and waved to the crowd. This only encouraged the mass of people to respond with more cheers and for the journalist who had gathered to take more pictures. They clustered and tried to get their question answered by those who had just come back from space. Lovell was quiet, he was relieved to be alive and happy to be back home, Gwen could tell by the look on his face.
Her arm was hooked in Waldfogel's as they stood next to each other. How she only wished that her father was here to see this moment, how the mind had triumphed over circumstance and brought three of the space programs most important men back home without harming a single hair on their head. Her father had passed away three years too early to see this and now she felt that his dream of putting a man on a moon had been realized. She sighed, her father would have been so proud of them, so proud of the personnel and maybe perhaps he would have given Waldfogel more respect than what he had been giving him before. Gwen's grip on the lupe's arm tightened as he pulled her forward to the front of the mob of people so that they could be nearer to the astronauts.
She and the lupe broke through to the front of the crowd so that there was now no one obstructing her view of the three who had just come back home from their failed mission of landing on the moon. The kougress watched as the Krawk, Kyrii and Aisha astronauts passed by her, they had almost gone completely by, pushing through the crowd of reporters, when the aisha suddenly stopped. He turned back around, it was Haise. He extended his hand toward Waldfogel and Glen in as a sign of appreciation. Waldfogel took it, Velcome home, sir… the lupe smiled. Haise shook his hand, Your hull design he thanked the lupe and nodded his head at Gwen as he continued on his way.
For some reason, Haise's gesture seemed to speak for both the astronauts and for her father.
Full Name -
Gwendolyn "Jinx" Anne HoffenGender -
September 13th, 1935Height -
5' 7Level -
1Owner - EuroTime Frame -
1940-1975. WWII, Post-War, Space Race eraNationality -
AmericanEye Color -
GreenFur Color -
A pale tawny color fur patched by deep brown rings around the muzzle, arms and legs as well as the tail. She has a white patch of fur down her front and on her paws and tail tip. The very end of her muzzle is black as are her ears. A white spot is on each ear.Occupation -
Secretary at NASA's Mission Control in Houston, TexasUniform -
She is required to wear clothing befitting of her job. She is often seen wearing the blue shirt of a ship mechanic over the regular clothes she wears out of habit because it has quite often been said that she knows more about the rockets workings than some of the men who actually fix them.Non-Neopets Home -
America. Houston, Texas.Strength -
Gwen Hoffen lived a very comfortable childhood with her father. She never knew who her mother was for she was never there at home, but the young kougress would often get letters from the mysterious lady who said she was her mom. Her father was a colonel in the Army and was subject to moving around the states quite a lot. Gwen learned to deal with the changing atmosphere every few years. She was sent to all the best finishing schools not only because she was exceedingly bright but because her father would sponsor it. She would often achieve tops marks in her class and it was often said that she could do whatever she wanted to when she got out of school, but that was untrue, since the mindset was that females could not do the same jobs as males.
Her father served in both wars and after 1947 was put in charge of Mission Control in Houston. It was here that Gwen started getting interested in the stars and with outer space. She would often be found in the hangar watching and helping, learning about the rockets how each of the systems worked. When she was old enough she got her first job at the hangar as a secretary for the Mission Control. It was here that she met Waldfogel and became friends with the Paperclip capture-ee. Her father never approved of their friendship because he still believed that Waldfogel was still loyal to his native country, but Gwen would often reassure him that Waldfogel was too gentle and too naïve to concern himself with the politics of nations.
Gwen got her first assignment on an actual launch on the Apollo 9 project. She owes this to her fathers influence for helping convince Mr. Gene Kranz to allow her onto the control board. Kranz was utterly surprised at how competent Gwen was and invited her back for Apollo's 10, 11, 12, and 13. She had always like Mr. Kranz because he, in way, was like her father and he always was not afraid to take charge when things went awry. However, after the failure of Apollo 13, Gwen felt as though she was doing nothing right for the program so she returned back to her job behind the desk as the Mission Control's secretary. However, her adventurous spirit got the better of her and she returned to the control board for the Apollo 16 mission. She returned to the control and there she would stay.
The office was nothing more than a square anteroom to the wide large expanse of office building's it lead to. The walls were of a drab gray, but were filled with various certificates and pictures. A fake, green satin-leafed ficus sat in the corner opposite of the door, doing nothing more than collecting dust. A long grey desk ran the length of the office, leaving barely any space on either side from which to get behind the desk to the large black char that sat there. Gwen rested her head upon the desk in the main office. There was not another soul around her as her ears picked up the magnified ticking of the clock on the wall. She had not slept well last night, thoughts and questions buzzed around her as she tried to get any rest that she could now so that if the time came that anyone at Control would need her she would be ready.
The call had come in yesterday. The red phone that sat locked in a case at the end of her desk rang within its confines; filling with dread, she was required by law to answer it. Slowly using the tiny gold key, she unlocked the case as the metallic ring echoed around her near empty office. She pulled the phone off the receiver and swallowed hard; the kougress answered with her breath caught in her throat. Yes? she said as she tried to regain her composure. The voice on the other end of the line was garbled and distorted so that it would be impossible for anyone to place who their voice belonged to. I must speak with General Hoffen! it said, clearly full of vexation and worry as it spoke. They wanted to speak with her father, but she had absolutely no idea where he was at that moment. Gwen knew by, by default, that the person on the other end could not know who actually answered because of the scramble on the phone, so she took matters into her own hand.
Here is the General. She said as she pulled the phone back on the chord as though it was being passed to someone and then placed it back on her own ear. She knew how to go a spot on impression of her father's voice, just in case the scramble on their end wasn't as strong as the one on her telephone. Yes? she said nasally with a touch of gruffness. Morning, The voice said; that was her cue to give the word so that she knew she was talking to a person she could trust. Higgins. Gwen replied, almost instantly the voice became more frantic: Sir, we just got word, they have launched test missiles successfully. They could shoot them at us at any time… The voice became breathless as they emptied this information upon her. Gwen felt her blood go cold as her hand began to tremble, Have you contacted Washington? she squeaked out. The voice affirmed her answer. Thank you, sir. She said in the most authority she could muster at this point, That is all.
Flash. She said, Thunder. Was her reply as she dropped the phone back onto the receiver. A silence, more deafening than the previous descended upon the room. She had only used that phone once before and it was when they first installed it to test it out. She had never gotten a call that might mean the end of her as well as her country. She swallowed hard and tried to draw in a breath, but her throat had constricted during the conversation. She had to find her father. The kougress got up from the chair, knees shaking and scooted out from behind the desk. Her eyes had started to brim with tears as she realized she might be looking at the last moments of her life. Each step was becoming her last stem as she slipped from the office.
Her Father. The General. She needed to find the General. The hangar, which she hurriedly ran for across the way, was alit with the work lights bouncing their artificial white beams off the cold steel walls. The mechanics and scientists when about their daily business as they always had, totally unaware of what had just happened, about the call she had received. When she ran through the open front of the hangar it took her all of about thirty seconds to find her father in the crowd of lab coats and overalls. He stood, in his full dress uniform, talking to one of the scientists. Gwen didn't bother finding out who he was talking to nor did she care what he was talking about as she ran over to him, ran as best she could in the heels she wore. The kougress came up to him and saluted just like everyone else in the presence of a general even though she was a relative of his.
Gwen, he said with a smile at the sight of his daughter I thought you were supposed to be in your office?. The scientist next to him was none other than Siegfried Waldfogel. One of the first capture-ees of Operation Paperclip all those years ago, he had been deposited here to help the Americans build a rocket that was to be sent to the moon. He was a very gentle soul and Gwen loved to have him around because of his sweet nature, but today she had no time for him. Guten Tag, Fräulein Hoffen. he said in a meek voice as he blushed lightly. Gwen couldn't let Waldfogel stand between her and what she had to tell her father so she averted her eyes from him.
Poppa… her voice cracked when she spoke, but she forced herself to go on. The phone… they called for you…. It felt as though a pillow had been pressed against her ears for all sound around her seemed to be muffled, but what her father said came out crystal clear: What did they have to say?. Waldfogel appeared as though he was going to faint; the lupe wavered slightly on his feet as his eyes were wide behind his gold rimmed glasses. They said that their could be missiles at us at any time. They said they had tested them successfully. The jovial look that her father had on his face when he saw her had long since evaporated and was replaced by the hard set one that had made him famous among other high ranking officers.
Instantly her father went from being her father into being a General of the army, Come, he commanded to both her and Waldfogel, We must talk to the President... The three of them quickly made their way from the building. Gwen could feel the Clock ticking closer to midnight with every step.
Gwen listened with horror as the broadcast from the small box radio came streaming into the hangar and reverberated around the complex. The afternoon program that they had been listening to had been interrupted by an urgent message direct from Moscow, the loud beep that occurred before every program interruption nearly caused Gwen to fall out of her chair because it came so suddenly. She had been enraptured with the music that was playing when all of a sudden: Attention! This is an Urgent Broadcast
shattered her concentration. The radio broadcast continued We just got news, the Russians have launched their first rocket into space.
Gwen had been sorting papers and Waldfogel had been working on perfecting some new design that he said had come to him in his sleep when they had been interrupted by this terrible news. The kougress saw the poor plastic and clay model that was once in the lupe's hands tumble to the floor when the announcement had come. He leaned up against the desk.
Oh mein goodness… Waldfogel said in stupefaction as he stared off out the hangar's open door. He did not attempt to pick up the model that he had made; it just rocked back and forth on the floor because of its circular shape. Gwen felt nothing as she looked to the lupe who seemed to have become frozen. They beat us… His voice was filled with the sadness of defeat. The kougress could only assume that since he was a scientist and she was not that it must feel like all his months of hard work had been in vain; all that time he had spent rushing and perfecting a rocket for launching into space had been wasted since it would not longer be the first one to break away from earth's atmosphere. She licked her lips; the air was unusually dry this morning.
The radio program had continued on the Announcement and now it was slowly coming to an end, We have no further information on what this satellite is capable of, whether it is just a mass of metal or whether it has more sinister purposes, only time will tell and until that moment all we can do is wait. Thank you. Over and out. The silence was only amplified by the lack of personnel in the hanger. Today had been declared a holiday by the General and there was a complete lack of people present in the building. Siegfried had come in to work on his model and Gwen had come in to try and story some of the clutter that had been building up upon her desk for the last month. She was a secretary, yes, but it would appear as though she was totally unorganized when in reality she knew exactly where everything was.
Slowly, Gwen rose from the chair she had been sitting in and walked stiffly over to the lupe. She bent down and picked up the model, her finger pressing in the clay bits around the center. The kougress than offered him it back, the scientist was still staring off blankly, but his hand took the model from her and brought it to the front of his face. He blinked a few times before he heaved a great sigh, I had really hoped that this one would be the one he shook the capsule shape in his hand as he smoothed out her fingerprints from the clay I wanted this model to be the first machine into space… I… I guess that can't happen now he spoke with his think Germanic accent. Gwen couldn't help but feel sorry for him as she put her hand on his shoulder. You should finish that… she tried to sound reassuring. They might want to integrate aspects of your model's hull into the actual lunar landing module. Their satellites had been beaten to space, but they still had the upper hand in getting the first shuttle up into orbit. They wanted to launch a shuttle with an actual being, not pet or pure machinery, within its confines.
Waldfogel nodded to the kougress. I guess you're right… this one has a different curve to the capsule so that its stronger for reentry a forced smile came across his features as he looked to Gwen. Waldfogel was a smart lupe, a very smart lupe. He was a genius, but there was one thing that separated him from many other older geniuses: He was afraid of his own mind, his own power and that was what sometimes brought him to trouble. This would be one instance where they needed him to be brave against his own brain-power. Come, lets go for a walk. Gwen smiled softly as though she was comforting a child who had just lost their favorite toy. She helped the lupe to his feet, Waldfogel was taller than she was. Together, the Lupe and Kougress left the hangar to get some fresh air.
The sound of humming and crackling was all that Gwen could hear through the head set she wore. She sat at her seat in the Mission Control room eyes fixated on the large screen in front of her as the Apollo 11
craft slowly descended toward the moon. Almost everyone was staring up in awe at what they were seeing their astronauts doing. They were really going to the surface of the moon. On the Control tier behind her she heard Mr. Kranz streaming orders and readouts into his head set pausing only to take breaths and to think about a quick calculation that might make or break the mission. The kougress just stared, a half smile upon her face, just about everyone in the room had that same look on their faces. She blinked for her eyes had gone dry from staring and threw a quick glance to the back of the room. Behind the glass of the Mission Control was an Ante-room and there stood Waldfogel, muzzle pressed against the -blocked- His glasses were lopsided on his face for he had forgotten to take them off before he started watching the landing. Gwen and Siegfried's eyes met, she winked and waved her hand to acknowledge him. She mouthed the words: Your Design…
The tension in the room was stifling. The kougress turned her attention back to the screen as the lunar rock was slowly becoming clearer and clearer. It was fascinating; they were actually seeing the moon's surface, first hand, from less than 100 miles away, although they had the most powerful telescope the novelty of actually seeing it with nothing more than a camera was almost mind-boggling. It also made one feel insignificant. It had taken us almost two thousand years to leave the face of the earth and we only made it to the moon. How long would it be before we started leaving our expansive solar system, even our massive galaxy? Gwen blinked; once again her eyes had gone dry from watching the gray glow of the moon zoom up to meet the landing crafts feet as it was suspended over the ground. The hardest part was coming, actually landing the Eagle. The steady flow of words and phrases from Mr. Kranz behind her suddenly stopped, the gray ixi was staring at the screen, just like everyone else. He then stood, the bunches of papers in his hands holding every possible out come, every equation, ever system gauge, every little detail of the ship. Gentlemen, he addressed the space ship as well as the room with his booming voice. and lady… he bowed his head toward Gwen. This is it, make every moment count
Yes, Sir came the voice of the lunar module pilot, Captain Aldrin over the speaker system. The reaction was a few seconds delayed because it had to travel from the moon to get to their ears. Moments passed before the module suddenly lurched. At first Gwen thought something was wrong and was about to jump to help then, but the sound of metal being clanged together came over the headset. The Eagle gave one more shudder and broke away from the ship falling gracefully down to the moon. The Eagle is free said Aldrin as the sound of his other two co-pilots could be heard in the background. This was the most important moment of all. This could prove the greatest scientific achievement in history or the greatest disaster whether or not they set down safely. She instantly thought of Waldfogel, he had helped design the landing rockets for the module and now the world was going to see whether they failed or succeeded. She bit her lower lip as the ground came up to meet the feet of the module.
There was a moment of fear as her stomach tightened, then the spindly feet of the Eagle landed gently upon the surface of the moon. It took a few seconds for the mission control to comprehend what had just happened, what they had accomplished, and then all at once they erupted into cheering. Some shook hands, some patted each other on the back, all Gwen could do was dash to the back of the room. Waldfogel had made his way through the door and was there to meet her, they embraced in mutual joy at the success of the landing. Gentlemen, came the voice of Mr. Kranz, who was still up on his feet, but now he had no more papers in his hands. He had dropped them safely on his desk before the celebration had started so that he would not risk someone hitting them and scattering them all over the place. When you are ready, you have authority to exit the module. There was the crackling of static on the speaker.
Breaking from their embrace, she turned her eyes back to the screen; Waldfogel did the exact same thing behind her. She saw the latch of the module swing open and a single leg step out onto the ladder. One more leg stepped out and then finally she saw the white form of one of the astronauts. Which one it was she couldn't tell because the suits covered every distinguishing feature, the tinted face mask made it impossible for her to see who it was. Its… came the voice of Armstrong, It's like a fine powder he said a hint of amazement in his voice as he jumped from the ladder onto the lunar surface. The first being to put their feet upon the gray moon had been an American. Gwen felt the swell of Pride and accomplishment build within her as the EVA continued before her eyes.
That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind
Apollo 13, run a system check please
came the calm voice of Mr. Kranz. Gwen was not watching the screen for it would be just a routine check. Just a stirring of the oxygen tanks, just a run through of all navigation and radio devices and the like. The kougress was reading one of the print-outs that had just been handed to her by one of the others workers. Numbers and letters all jumbled together to from almost illegible mish-mash on the page. Anyone who was not trained to read it might get lost only a few sentences in. She leaned forward on her desk and placed her hand on her forehead, this was going to be a long day. She bit her lower lip; her eyes were trying to find the system status that she was looking for in the long string of gibberish on the paper. She finally found what she was looking for. Putting the paper on the desk, she highlighted the line that she wanted to make it easier to find later.
There came the sound of crackling as the astronauts in the space ship replied to Mr. Kranz's command. She at first paid no attention, but suddenly she heard the sound of crashing over the loud speaker. Her attention was drawn to the screen, the sound of the beeping alarm echoed through to her over the head set she was wearing. The computer screen in front of her lit up as warning signs came up for nearly all major systems. The words critical flashed across every system on the computer. Gwen looked confused as she raised her hands from the desk, taken aback. Whoa… she said as her eyes remained locked on the monitor in front of her. What did I do? she asked more to herself than anybody. The uni next to her was obliged to answer, You didn't do anything he leaned over and checked her screen as his computer had reacted the same way when the astronauts had fun the systems check.
At first Gwen got the idea that it might have just been her computer acting up, but when she saw the screens flashing and blinking next to her on the uni's monitor her breath caught in her throat. It took her a few moments to register exactly what she was seeing, everything was coming up critical. Something had gone horribly wrong with the check. This was not a farce, her computer was working perfectly fine; it was the rocket, way above the earth, and that was the one malfunctioning. Mr. Kranz… was all that she could manage to get out for her fingers were desperately running over the keyboard causing the screen to roll through the systems, she was trying to find something that was still working fine and had not hit been declared in critical condition by the computers on board.
Mr. Kranz suddenly became very serious Gentlemen, what just happened?. There was the sound of scuffling over the loud speakers as the astronauts floated around the inside of the rocket. They probably were just as shocked and confused as the Mission Control personnel were on the ground. The only problem was that if something when wrong on the ground they did not have to worry about the lack of oxygen, radiation from the sun or the void of space. The kougress hear the cry of alarm inside the ship from one of the astronauts, probably the Command Pilot Haise by the sound of it. Houston, we have a problem came the voice of James Lovell over the loud speaker. Instantly the room went deathly silent. Everything's going wrong, sir. he continued, no doubt working furiously to remedy the problem that had sprouted up around him as the result of Haise's system check.
Will you repeat that? the old ixi spoke in disbelief at what he was hearing. There was more static before Lovell actually answered again Houston, everything's going wrong. Every system is in the red, we're trying to find out what happened, but it appears as though everything malfunctioned at once. I think we've been hit. Gwen felt as though her stomach had dropped out, Hit? By what? An Asteroid? . Do we have confirmation that you have been hit? the ixi's voice was chilling, it was as though he was writing an epitaph for someone's grave. No Sir, It's just a hunch, but if we have been hit that would explain why all systems suddenly backfired together. Kranz put his hands through his hair at what the Krawk pilot had just told him. Alright the Flight Controller said as he paced away from the computer desk. Try to reboot the system; part of the problem might be a circuit malfunction. We're working on the problem down here. We might have to call the mission off if the system does not respond to the reboot.
There were a number of factors that could go wrong in rebooting a system. For one, and probably the most sever, the system would not restart again after it was turned off. That would surely doom the astronauts who were caught within the confines of the module's metal hull. There were other possibilities that could happen. Like Mr. Kranz said, it might reset some of the systems and prove that there was nothing wrong with them. As long as the oxygen tanks were unharmed, they had a chance of getting the Astronauts safely back home. That was all that she and everyone else in the control room wanted.
Allies & Enemies
» General Marshall Hoffen
Marshall Hoffen is Gwen's Father. He served with distinction in the Great war earning him a commission as a tank commander during the inter war years. His position in the military protected him from the trials of the Great Depression. He fought in the Second World War in the Pacific under MacArthur and was one of the few selected to lead the umbrella advance of Operation Downfall, Operation Coronet which would continue the attack. However, circumstances called for the cancellation of these operatives. He spent a few years training recruits, but was then put in charge of NASA Mission Control in Houston. Marshall is an unforgiving man with a hard stare. He is not afraid to take control if the situation calls for it.
» Siegfried Waldfogel
Siegfried Waldfogel is a quiet lupe with a very sweet-natured disposition. However, he wasn't always that way. He actually used to be a very vicious individual, but in early 1945 a blow to his head caused all memory before that point to vanish from his mind. When he was brought to America under Operation paperclip he could not remember what he did during the war, all he could remember is that he worked on rockets in the last few months. His fellow scientist would always tell him it would be better if he never remembered, the lupe found it disheartening that no one would tell him who he really was. He became one of Gwen's closest friends and she promised she would help him find out what he had done in the lost years of his life, Waldfogel always held her true to her word.
» Gene Kranz
Gene Kranz is the successor of Chris Kraft as Flight Director at Houston Mission Control. His well known around NASA for his signature hair cut and his wearing of dress vests in different colors and patterns. The ixi's first shift as Director that he ever served was during the Gemini 4 missions which was the first EVA mission ever flown by NASA. Kranz served as flight director on all odd number Apollo Missions and was there to see the first ever human landing on the lunar surface with Apollo 11. He was the one in charge when the unsuccessful Apollo 13 mission happened. He was on Duty when the oxygen tank exploded and stayed on duty until the astronauts came back home. Kranz and his team received all received a medal from the President for their heroic deeds.
» Buzz Aldrin
Buzz was the Second Astronaut to set foot on the moon after Armstrong in the Apollo 11 mission. His first name was originally Edwin, but when his younger sister tried to call him brother, it came out buzzer which in turn shortened to Buzz. Aldrin was the third group of astronauts chosen and was put as a backup pilot for Gemini 9A who's original mission was to rendezvous and dock with a target vehicle, but this failed miserably. Thinking quickly, Aldrin improvised and helped fix the problem with docking. This earned him a spot on the Gemini 12 mission. He perfected the techniques used in an EVA and he was the one who shoed NASA that a being could work for long amounts of time in the vacuum of space with very little side effects.
» Fred Haise
Fred was the youngest member of the Apollo 13 mission and he is only two years older than Gwen and that is perhaps why they get along so well. Haise's NASA career began as a test pilot at the Johnson Space Center. He aspired to actually go into space; he was later chosen as back up crew for Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 before actually getting a chance to finally go into space on the Apollo 13 mission. Fred never accounted for the mishap with the oxygen tanks to happen and cut his first real space mission short, but up until that moment he never really appreciated all that was here on Earth. After the disastrous Apollo 13 mission, He decided to stay on the ground for a few years. He would later run test flights for the space shuttle Enterprise.
» Valt L. Adore
Valt was found in the middle of the Nevada desert taking pride in blowing up old war planes that had long since retired from their services. He proved to have a very keen shot and was hired by the NASA command to help with their ballistic program to counteract the Russians. With the success of the first launch in 1957, he was given almost unlimited resources to help make a counter acting rocket that could target on its own and successfully shoot down another rocket before it hit its intended target. Valt was delighted to make the explosives and fine tune the devices build in radar that was supposed to help with tracking. With the threat growing bigger everyday, the gelert had to work around the clock to complete his project. Sadly for him it was a glorious failure when it was first launched.
XSM is the codename for a strange frequency that was picked up by Gwen one day when she was testing the headsets in the control room. She managed to get most of the conversation on tape and no one has yet to explain it. She was testing frequencies when all of a sudden a metallic voice called out to her. It sounded distant and emotionless. She answered, thinking it might have been a malfunction, but the voice answered her back speaking of things she did not understand. It asked her about a strange directive that she had no answer to. The voice asked her what year it was and she answered with 1967. It then continued on to say that the earth was not complete. The being spoke strangely when it kept asking of the directive. Gwen kept answering she didn't know and finally the frequency then when silent and she was never able to pick up the voice again.